Colombia : Highlights of Colombia

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In the Tatacoa Desert, wind, rain and erosion have sculpted the orange-red soil into a magnificent landscape sculpture.

On one day we indulge in the Caribbean lifestyle in Tayrona National Park, on the other we roam the orange-red soil of the Tatacoa Desert. In the Andes we breathe the fresh mountain air deep into our lungs.

OVERVIEW

  • Coffee-growing regions and colonial cities
  • The Red Tatacoa Desert
  • Mysterious San Agustín (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Swim in the Caribbean in Tayrona National Park
  • Views of the world’s highest coastal mountain range at Minca
  • Cartagena: for many the most beautiful colonial city in all of South America

Travel Program

Our guide welcomes us at the airport with a “Wandering the World” sign and we then drive to the hotel in the middle of the colonial old town of Bogotá.

Travel time: approx. 45 min. (minibus)

Overnight stay in a hotel in the center of Bogotá

(-/-/-)

Today we visit all the important sights of the historic center of the Colombian capital: for example the Plaza de Bolívar with the government palace, the oldest district La Candelaria with the old colonial houses, the world-famous gold museum and the 3,152 m high local mountain Monserrate, which we reach by cable car . Below us stretches Colombia’s capital, which has about as many inhabitants as all of Austria: 7.9 million people live in the greater Bogotá area! In terms of population, it is a highly dynamic and modern metropolis that houses many museums worth seeing and venerable colonial buildings. Bogotá has many very pretty corners, but is never smooth-brushed lovely or even touristy. “Poverty and prosperity are visible side by side here and create a somewhat rough, but very lively charm!” says WWW boss Christian Hlade about this city. “I’ve never felt unsafe in Bogotá or anywhere in Colombia.”

Overnight in hotel in Bogotá

(B/-/-)

We leave Bogotá early in the morning for a day trip hiking in the Andes. Not far from the metropolis it is suddenly very quiet and we immerse ourselves in a lonely, natural landscape. The mountains of Chingaza National Park northeast of Bogotá are a natural and cultural treasure of central Colombia. They protect the secrets of the Muiscas and Guayupes – both indigenous tribes who lived in this area. Today it is a refuge for the typical flora and fauna of the Andes. The dominant ecosystems here, the Andean forest and the tropical highland vegetation of the Páramo, are home to a variety of plant and animal species, including spectacled bear, white-tailed deer, mountain tapir and puma. In the air, the Andean Condor and Andean Cock-of-the-rocks can be found. The typical páramo vegetation includes El Frailejon (Espeletias).

There are some quiet mountain lakes on the well-developed circular route, which were important places of worship for the local Indians. This is where the legends of El Dorado, the land of gold, have their origins: a priest painted with gold performed rituals on a raft, during which gold figures were sunk in the lake. Above all, legends like these fueled the devastating gold rush of the Spanish conquerors. From a vantage point we have an impressive panorama of the wide high mountain landscape with its flora, which is strange to us: we are at over 3,000 m above sea level!

  • Driving time: Bogotá – Chingaza National Park – Bogotá: approx. 5 hours
  • Hike: approx. 5 hours (+/-500 m)

Overnight stay in the hotel in Bogotá

(B/-/-)

We fly to Pitalito and after an approx. 1-hour drive we reach San Agustín – center of an ancient culture that flourished between 100 BC and 100 BC. and 900 AD. At that time, underground and aboveground tombs and figures were created from volcanic rock, in which priests and important members of the indigenous community were buried. The extensive places of worship with hundreds of sculptures, some of which appear very enigmatic, are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For many, this area is one of the most mystical places in all of South America. It is certainly the most important pre-Columbian site in the country.

In the afternoon we will visit the Archaeological Park of San Agustín on foot, starting with the small but very impressive museum. Afterwards we hike on easy paths through magical vegetation with bamboo forests, ferns, climbing plants and various tropical trees to the various mesitas, the cult places in clearings in the forest. We finally get to the holy spring of Lavapatos, where we get explanations of other figures and the historical cult activities.

Flight to Pitalito

  • Travel time: Airport – San Agustín: approx. 1 hour (minibus)
  • Easy circular hike with cultural tour: approx. 3-4 hours

Overnight stay in the hotel in San Agustín

(B/-/-)

This day is packed with other archaeological and natural highlights, including the Alto de los Idolos and Alto de las Piedras parks, the Rio Magdalena gorge. We experience the Salto del Mortiño waterfall and visit an ethnographic museum and hike back to San Agustín.

Tonight we’re going to feel like Colombians and go play the Tejo. Tejo is a modern version of a South American Indian game called Turmequé, which was played in Colombia over 500 years ago. In 2000, Tejo, which is traditionally accompanied by alcohol, was officially declared the Colombian national sport. Let us surprise you and enjoy a different kind of evening…

  • Travel time: approx. 2 hours (minibus)
  • Hike: approx. 1.5-2 hours

Overnight stay in the hotel in San Agustín

(B/-/-)

Today we can choose between hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking or rafting!

In the morning you go – depending on your preference – either on horseback, on mountain bikes or on foot (hike about 2-3 hours) to the archaeological sites of El Tablon and La Chaquira. For those looking for something more adventurous, there is (optional and additional payment) the opportunity to go rafting on the Rio Magdalena, one of the country’s main rivers. Rafting here is a great adventure and an opportunity to see the landscape crowned by the Macizo Colombiano mountain range from a different perspective. In the afternoon we visit the coffee finca “La Cabaña”. The coffees at this finca are among the best in the country. The family business conveys insights into how coffee is planted, harvested and processed in a personal way. Coffee and tropical fruits are produced organically here with enthusiasm. A prime example of sustainable agriculture!

Overnight in hotel in San Agustín

(B/-/-)

We drive from San Agustín via Neiva to Tatacoa. Together with our guide we take a hike through the photogenic Tatacoa Desert, where wind, rain and erosion have carved the orange-red soil into a magnificent landscape sculpture. The Tatacoa is only an hour’s drive from Neiva and spreads out in the valley of the Rio Magdalena on about 330 km². Strictly speaking, the desert belongs to the tropical dry forest. There are not only large cacti in the landscape, which is deeply crisscrossed with crevasses and gullies, but also sediments with fossil traces from different geological ages. Therefore, the Tatacoa is a popular travel destination, especially among geologists. The landscape is comparable to the canyons in the USA. It offers great contrasts for photographers, painters and all landscape lovers.

  • Driving time: approx. 6.5 hours (minibus)
  • Hike: 2 hours

Overnight stay in the hotel in Neiva

(B/-/-)

We will go to Neiva Airport and fly to Santa Marta via Bogotá. Santa Marta is the oldest surviving settlement in Colombia. In 1525, this small colonial town was founded by the Spanish conquistador Rodrigo de Bastidas. Santa Marta is located directly on the sea. In the background rises the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest coastal mountain range in the world. In the evening, a small city tour through the streets of the old town is on the agenda. We stroll past the Cathedral of Santa Marta, which temporarily housed the bones of the liberator and folk hero of Colombia, Simon Bolivar, who died here. The city’s old customs building was built in 1530, making it the oldest architect-designed building in Latin America. In 1543 pirates raided the city, conquered the building and stole, among other things, the charter of Santa Marta. We stroll along the promenade and end our city tour at a bar in the bay of Santa Marta with a view of the sea.

  • Travel time: approx. 1 hour (minibus)

Overnight stay in the hotel in Santa Marta

(B/-/-)

In the Tayrona National Park, dreamy Caribbean bays with sand, palm trees and first-class bathing opportunities await us! The extraordinary location between the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which lines up the country’s highest peaks directly on the Caribbean Sea, the biodiversity and places of cultural and historical interest make this park a special place. We undertake a varied hike in the tropical dry and rain forest, crossing gorges and climbing over small rocks. The tropical vegetation with the giant trees, ferns and climbing plants as well as the rich birdlife make us think of paradise when we look at the sea from here!

The archaeological site of Pueblito in Tayrona National Park was closed to tourism in favor of the indigenous Koquí families living there and to protect the fragile nature, but our guide tells us about the indigenous people and the importance of the park. Finally we descend to the bay of Cabo San Juan. There we relax on the Caribbean beach and can swim in the sea. Swimming in the warm sea water we can enjoy the panorama of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with the rainforest. We then return to the El Zaino park entrance, from where a car will take us back to Palomino.

  • Travel time: approx. 3.5 hours (minibus)
  • Hike: approx. 5-6 hours (+250 m/-300 m)

Overnight stay in the hotel in Santa Marta

(B/-/-)

Today we drive to Minca, and on to the Aves El Dorado Reserve (approx. 2 hours). Minca, the gateway to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, was declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1980. It has also been designated as a priority ecosystem of South America by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Minca is particularly popular for bird watching and hiking through very original jungle vegetation. We visit the El Dorado Reserve, in the garden we can see flocks of hummingbirds fluttering around the sugar water dispensers. Perfect to be able to take a photo of these speedsters! We visit the surroundings of the reserve, which will also be our accommodation for tonight,

  • Driving time: approx. 3.5 hours (Jeep 4×4)
  • Hike: approx. 2-3 hours (+/-200 m)

Accommodation with shared rooms in simple accommodation Campestre

(B/-/-)

Today our day starts early with a hike to a viewpoint at 2,600 m. We hike through lush green vegetation with ferns, climbing ferns and giant trees. At the viewpoint we will have breakfast and marvel at the view of the peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (5,775 m) and down to the Caribbean Sea. A rather bumpy car ride brings us back to Minca. There we hike in about 1 hour through the valley of Marinka to the waterfall of the same name. Since we are now only 650 meters above sea level, the flora and fauna here is very different from that in the mountains – with crops such as mango or coffee and tropical bird species such as the toucan. We have lunch on the way at one of the fincas or in Minca. We can refresh ourselves at the waterfall

  • Driving time: approx. 3.5 hours (Jeep 4×4)
  • Hike: approx. 5-6 hours (+350 m/-400 m)

Overnight stay in the hotel in Santa Marta

(B/L/-)

After breakfast we take our bus to the port city of Cartagena de las Indias. The core of the capital of the Bolìvar department with a population of 1 million goes back to one of the best-preserved colonial settlements in South America. From here the South American continent was conquered by the Spaniards, here was one of the main hubs for the slave trade in America, and this is where the gold stolen from the locals was finally stored and shipped to Europe. One of the mightiest fortifications of the time protected the city’s fairytale wealth. Again and again pirates and buccaneers tried to get their hands on the gold stored here. The history of the city reads like a great adventure fairy tale. The almost completely preserved colonial old town with architecturally appealing patrician houses, palaces, squares, pompous inner courtyards, a mighty city wall and castle bears witness to all of this today. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.

At the beginning of our city tour we visit the monastery of La Popa, situated on a hill 150 m above the bay, from where we have a perfect overview of the city. Then head to the Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, the largest fortress ever built by the Spanish in South America. The tour takes us through narrow, colorful streets with numerous buildings built in the colonial style. Street musicians, great pubs and Caribbean flair in elegant old walls make up the special mix of Cartagena. An individual walk on the crown of the city wall may end in the late afternoon at the atmospheric “Cafe del Mar” with a drink and a view of the sun sinking into the sea.

  • Driving time: approx. 4 hours (minibus)

Overnight stay in the hotel in Cartagena

(F/-/-)

Early in the morning we drive to the small fishing village of La Boquilla on the outskirts of Cartagena, about 30 minutes from the city center. Full contrast program: On the beach of La Boquilla we will see the two facets of the city, because here – in one of the poorest parts of Cartagena – 5-star hotels and luxurious apartments are currently being built. Without a transition, poor meets super rich! Then the city merges – again with practically no transition – into an undeveloped natural landscape: We get into a canoe and cross mangrove forests and the Cienaga de Juan Polo lagoon. The mangroves form tunnels, they are called “Tunnel of Friendship”, “Tunnel of Love” and “Tunnel of Happiness”. Here birds, crabs, raccoons and green parrots cavort. During our subsequent stroll through the village and along the beach, our guide tells us about the daily life of the people who mainly live from fishing. We visit the La Vecina Foundation and learn more about the Colombian school system and the situation in La Boquilla. Full of new impressions we drive back to the city center to our cozy hotel.

The Caribbean nightlife in Cartagena de Indias is legendary. Don’t miss dancing salsa here! Latin American sounds can be heard from every corner, underscored by a touch of African rhythms. A young team of dance teachers invites us to a salsa lesson. After a short time we master the basic steps, and now we can start – we start the evening with fiery music.

  • Driving time: 30 min.

Overnight in hotel in Cartagena

(B/-/-)

Early in the morning we go to the Bazurto market, where tourists rarely get lost. We’re here to get the ingredients for today’s cooking class, among the locals stocking up on fresh fruit and veg, meat and fish, herbs and spices. Back in the center, we are welcomed in the kitchen with a cocktail and immediately after that we start preparing lunch under the guidance of local chefs.

In the afternoon we can relax in the hotel or stroll through the streets of Cartagena. On the last evening of our trip, we are invited to taste the most consumed alcoholic drink in Latin America: rum. We will learn about its history, its origins and the different production methods. We discover the aromas of the distillate made from fermented and distilled sugar cane, hear pirate stories and end the evening together.

Overnight in hotel in Cartagena

(B/L/-)

In the morning we can once again enjoy the old town streets of Cartagena on our own and buy souvenirs in handicraft shops.

We will then be taken to the airport and fly to Bogotá, from where we will board our flight home to Europe.

  • Journey time: approx. 30 min. (minibus)

(B/-/-)

Included meals: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner

What's Included

Services included in the prices:

  • International flights
  • National flights Bogotá – Pitalito, Neiva – Santa Marta (via Bogotá), Cartagena – Bogotá
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as per the detailed itinerary
  • German speaking guide
  • Transfers in private jeeps and buses
  • All entrance fees and national park fees as advertised

Not included:

  • vaccinations, insurance, etc.
  • Additional costs in the event of illness, mountain rescue, change of route due to force majeure or flight time changes
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs, tips
  • Departure fee (if necessary)
  • Single supplement 620€ per person
  • 100% single room surcharge for half a double room booking if no other participant(s) can be found

Prices & Dates

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— JUL 2023 / — AUG 2023

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FROM/TO

PRICE (USD)

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— JUL 2023 / — AUG 2023

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FROM/TO

PRICE (USD)

TRAVEL STATUS

— JUL 2023 / — AUG 2023

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» Additional dates available upon request
» Rates may vary from July 26th to 31th for the national holidays

Prices (per person):

1 PAX2 PAX4 PAX6 PAX8 PAX10 PAX12 PAX14 PAX
— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD

Deposit for reservations:  — USD (– EUR) ✓ Full payment 40 days before. No refund if you cancel less than 30 days!

Places: 🟢 *Available
Trip-code: Number ►COL – 57
Duration: 16 days
Participants: Minimal: 4 Maximal: 12
Members: We don’t have an open group to join – We can open a new group – Contact us!
Country / Location: Colombia
Mountain Guide: Eric Albino Lliuya
Other dates / additional info: Contact us!

3% early bird discount when booking 6 months prior to departure 2023

Legend Booking-information:
EZZ Single room supplement
🟢 On this trip, places are still available.
🟡 On this trip, only a few places left.
🔴 This trip is sold out / closed.

Eric Raul Albino Lliuya

Expert guide certified by AGOMP
General Sales Manager of Peru Expeditions

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